Interview with CJ Carmichael, Author of Promise From a Cowboy

Please welcome CJ Carmichael to the virtual offices this morning. She’s here to chat about her latest Harlequin American Romance, Promise From a Cowboy.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[CJ Carmichael]  Empty-nester, book-loving, nature freak who loves hiking and biking with her life-partner Mike and hanging out with family & friends when not writing.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Promise From a Cowboy?

[CJ Carmichael]  The hero of this book, BJ Lambert, decided to keep mum about an arson and accidental death that occurred when he was eighteen years old. He did it to protect his girlfriend’s brother, but the price he pays is losing her in his life. The story picks up over ten years later, when new evidence is found that leads to re-opening the investigation. His girlfriend is now the County Sheriff and the kicker is…he still loves her.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[CJ Carmichael]  BJ is the oldest of four in the Lambert family of Coffee Creek, Montana. I love writing connected stories because this allows me to spend time developing a community feel to the stories and also to include sub-plots that span the length of the series.

The sub-plot in the Coffee Creek books involves the domineering, manipulative Olive Lambert (mother of BJ as well as Corb, Brock and Cassidy) and her feud with her much nicer sister, Maddie Turner.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Savannah?

[CJ Carmichael]  determined, responsible, fearless

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If BJ had a theme song, what would it be?

[CJ Carmichael]  Once in a Lifetime by Keith Urban (Because despite all their years apart, Savannah is his Once in a Lifetime girl)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Savannah is never without.

[CJ Carmichael]  her Sheriff badge. It means everything to her, because she craved respectability as a kid, and who could be more respectable than a Sheriff?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in BJ’s bathroom?

[CJ Carmichael]  Any other woman but Savannah, hair gel—he likes the natural look, and cologne—he’s not that guy.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Savannah’s greatest regret?

[CJ Carmichael]  Savannah’s biggest regret is that she wasn’t there the night the old Turner barn caught on fire and a man died in the loft.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[CJ Carmichael]  I love spending time in Montana (show me anyplace more beautiful than Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake), perusing Western magazines and cowboy pictures on Pinterest, listening to country music—all can be very inspirational for my cowboy romances.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[CJ Carmichael]  Quiet. Quiet. Quiet. (and a computer)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[CJ Carmichael]  I can only name one? Sigh. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[CJ Carmichael]  One of the earliest novels I remember reading was Little House On The Prairie. I grew up on the prairies, so that made the story more relevant to me.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[CJ Carmichael]  I love to spend times outdoors, whether it’s hiking in the mountain, biking or sitting on the patio playing cribbage or scrabble with Mike and enjoying a glass of wine. I also love family dinner when my girls are home and we end up playing board games after.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[CJ Carmichael]  Just try to avoid me! I’m on twitter as CJ_Carmichael, on Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, and I have a blog called CJ’s Desk Diary on And hey, you can always send me an e-mail! I’ll contact you  if you review one of my books on Goodreads. I think it’s awesome when readers take the time to spread the word about a book they’ve read and I try to personally thank everyone who does this for mine.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

[CJ Carmichael]  Thank you for the fun questions, Julie!

About the book:

A Cowboy With Something To Hide…

On the rodeo circuit, B.J. Lambert had plenty of chances to forget about his first love. Back in Coffee Creek, it’s impossible. Savannah Moody is as irresistible to B.J. as when they were teens. He’d still do anything for her – except give up the secret he promised to keep.

Sheriff Savannah Moody knows B.J. is hiding something. Not his feelings for her – it’s obvious to both of them that the attraction is as strong as ever. But she simply can’t afford to give in. She has her sister to care for, and the family land, and B.J. might be gone tomorrow. She also has a job to do: to pursue the truth and discover what really happened eighteen years ago when a barn burned and a man died. Even if it costs her dearly….

Cover Shot! Flirting with Texas by Katie Lane

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café.  I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share.  More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents.  There is an allure to a beautiful cover.  Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

As I head off to the horse show today, I wonder – why, why, WHY don’t the cowboys I see there look the cowboy I see here?  WHY?

In stores July 2013



On her own in the Big Apple, Jenna Jay Scroggs can handle herself when trouble arises. But when she tries to rescue a horse, the passionate do-gooder ends up on a runaway Central Park carriage ride with a hunky stranger. With his sexy drawl and well-worn Levis, Beauregard Cates is doing his darnedest to make Jenna homesick for the small western town she’s spent years trying to forget. And it’s working: She’s dangerously close to falling head over boot heels for the rugged rodeo star with hair the color of moonshine.

Beau came to the big city to escape his past and live life to the fullest. Yet the leggy blonde with eyes as blue as a western sky causes a real hitch in his giddy-up. So when the well-meaning folks of Bramble plot to bring Jenna home, Beau will need to convince her that she won’t ever get Texas out of her blood – or one good-time, ever-lovin’ cowboy out of her heart.

Character Interview with Colton Nelson from Carolyn Brown’s Billion Dollar Cowboy and Giveaway!

Please welcome special guest Carolyn Brown to the virtual offices this morning! Carolyn and her sexy new protagonist, Colton Nelson, are here to answer a few questions, and after, they have a copy of Billion Dollar Cowboy for one of you to win!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Carolyn Brown] Very lucky. Dependable. Hard-working.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share a typical day in the life of Colton Nelson?

[Carolyn Brown] A rancher’s day is never typical. Any number of things can rise up in a moment to change plans. Like cows getting out of the pasture when I had a lovely evening planned with Laura. But on a normal day—it’s breakfast about the time the sun comes up, going about feeding, working cattle, hauling hay, plowing, fixing fences and thinking about Laura all day while I’m doing it. Don’t tell her that, please. She’s already skittish as an unbroken colt. Then coming back to the house in the evening to spend some time with the family…and Laura.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words come to mind when you think of Laura?

[Carolyn Brown] Oh, my. Only three words? I could talk about Laura all day. Okay, then three words…gorgeous (from the inside out); honest (even if it hurts); sexy (even in her glasses).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was the first thing that you noticed about her?

[Carolyn Brown] We were sitting at the supper table and I was still feeling the effects of the drug the women in a bar had dosed me with the night before. Andy brought Laura to supper and he’d introduced her around the table, telling her that the cowboy at the end who looked like shit was me. Thanks again, Andy, for that comment from my best friend! And even though I felt like exactly what Andy said I looked like, I noticed the sweet nature Laura had when she talked to Roxie. That can’t be faked and it appealed to me. She wasn’t there to fleece me and as I found out later, she didn’t give a damn about money. Outside of my grandmother, Laura might have been the first totally honest person, I ever met.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could change one thing you’ve done in your life, what would it be?

[Carolyn Brown] Nothing because it is the choices that I made yesterday that makes me the man I am today. However, I might have learned a little more about the financial world along the way. Thank goodness Andy takes care of that for me. I trust him explicitly to make the right choices about investments and to steer me right when it comes to my bank account.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Carolyn Brown] An extra set of pickup keys. I wouldn’t want to be left without a way to get out of a situation if someone stole my keys so I keep a set taped to the underside of the tail gate with duct tape.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t chasing off women in love with your bank account?

[Carolyn Brown] I love snow cones. I like sitting in the swings at the school yard while I eat snow cones. I like talking to Laura who also likes eating snow cones while she swings. She’s what my grandmother would call an old soul and peace surrounds me when I’m with her.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your dreams for the future in five words or less.

[Carolyn Brown] I lived happily-ever-after! I know that sounds like a romance novel but hey, if a person can achieve happy-ever-after, they don’t need much else.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

[Carolyn Brown] Thank you all at Manga Maniac Cafe for asking me to stop by your site today. Now I’ve got to get on back to the ranch. You never know what Roxie and Laura might be cooking up! Laura and I both thank Carolyn for telling our story just the way it happened. She had some ideas there in the beginning of her own but after we disturbed her sleep a few nights she figured out that we really did know exactly what happened from page one all the way to the end.

Giveaway Time!

Ready for a chance to win a copy  of Billion Dollar Cowboy?   Just fill out the widget below

a Rafflecopter giveaway


A Billionaire Can Buy Anything…

Colton Nelson was twenty-eight years old when he won the Texas Lottery and went from ranch hand to ranch owner overnight. Now he’s desperate to keep the gold diggers away. It shouldn’t be too hard to find a pretty girl and hire her to pretend to be his one-and-only.

Or Can He?

Laura Baker’s got mixed feelings about this—she’s on the ranch to work, not to be arm candy. On the other hand, being stuck for a while in the boondocks with a gorgeous cowboy isn’t half-bad.

What neither Colton nor Laura expects are the intensely hard lessons they have to learn about the real cost of love…


Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with more than 60 books published. Born in Texas and raised in southern Oklahoma, Carolyn and her husband now make their home in the town of Davis, Oklahoma. Carolyn’s first women’s fiction novel, The Blue Ribbon Jalapeño Society Jubilee is now available, and you can look for her next cowboy romance, Cowboy Seeks Bride in August 2013! For more information, please visit:

To purchase Billion Dollar Cowboy:


Barnes and Noble




Discover a New Love


Review: Big Sky Summer by Linda Lael Miller


Title: Big Sky Summer

Author: Linda Lael Miller


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:


The "First Lady of the West," #1 New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller, welcomes you home to Parable, Montana—where love awaits.

With his father’s rodeo legacy to continue and a prosperous spread to run, Walker Parrish has no time to dwell on wrecked relationships. But country-western sweetheart Casey Elder is out of the spotlight and back in Parable, Montana. And Walker can’t ignore that his "act now, think later" passion for Casey has had consequences. Two teenage consequences!

Keeping her children’s paternity under wraps has always been part of Casey’s plan to give them normal, uncomplicated lives. Now the best way to hold her family together seems to be to let Walker be a part of it—as her husband of convenience. Or will some secrets—like Casey’s desire to be the rancher’s wife in every way—unravel, with unforeseen results?


I haven’t read a book by Linda Lael Miller in a long while, so when I saw this on Netgalley, I grabbed it.  The premise sounded interesting, and I was curious as to how everything would pan out for rancher protagonist Walker.  He has two teens that don’t know he’s their father. Now that superstar Casey Elder has settled down in town, Walker is going to see a lot more of those kids of his, but he can’t tell them that he’s their dad!  I had a hard time sympathizing with Casey, because she expected him to stay silent about his kids, and because she was denying them all a chance to  be a family.

I loved Walker, even though he’s a go with the flow kind of guy.  He appreciates the simple things in life; a good horse, his land, the beauty surrounding him.  He is lonely and doesn’t easily make connections with others.  His on again off again mess of a relationship with Casey is like a train wreck.  They met  on the rodeo circuit just as Casey’s music career was about to take off, and after she discovers she’s pregnant, she lies and tells him that the baby isn’t his.  She’s worked long and hard to make it to the big time, and she’ not about to become some rancher’s wife. 

After Walker gets her pregnant again (!) she has to fess up.  She insists that Walker’s participation in her strange little family remain a secret, and shame on him, he agrees.  This is the one less than noble decision that he makes, and he spends the rest of the book regretting it with every breath he breathes.  He realizes how much he is hurting both his kids and himself by obeying Casey’s demands, and as he is torn up over it.  He has missed out on watching his kids grow up, and he’s become resentful of Casey for locking him out of so much of their childhoods.  When she settles down in Parable, he begins to see just how much of their lives he has missed out on, and it doesn’t make him happy.

This is the fourth book in the Swoon-Worthy Cowboys series, and other than the first confusing chapter, where we are reintroduced to previous couples in the series, I didn’t have any trouble diving in to this installment.  I did go back and grab the rest of the books because I enjoyed this one so much.  The writing is engaging, and I enjoyed all of the characters, though it took a while to warm up to Casey.  If I have to pick one aspect of the story that didn’t work for me, it’s that Walker is a baby-making machine, and every single time he and Casey hook up, she ended up pregnant.  Even though they used protection.  Somebody needs to sue the condom company for so many quality control failures!

If you are looking for a quick and surprisingly emotional read, Big Sky Summer is a perfect title to pack up in your beach bag.   It even gets some extra brownie points for featuring some many dogs so prominently. 

Check back later today for a chance to win a copy of  Big Sky Summer!

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview Laura Drake, Author of The Sweet Spot

Laura Drake is our special guest this morning.  Please give her a warm welcome!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Laura Drake] Glass overflowing thrill-seeker, recovering bean-counter, writer, motorcycling grandma, cowboy fangirl, and aspiring Texan!

(Whew! Thank God for all the Twitter prep!)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Sweet Spot?

[Laura Drake] Here’s a quick blurb:

Charla Rae Denny’s role as a traditional ranch wife and mother fits her like custom-tailored Wranglers. But when her only son is killed in a tragic accident, Char retreats to a world of grief and Valium. Her reeling husband takes up with a blonde buckle bunny half his age. Their ranch, which supplies bucking bulls to the Pro Bull Riding circuit, is split up in the divorce. All her county fair ribbons won’t help Charla now. She’s alone, addicted, ill-equipped, and has no one to blame but herself. In spite of her fear of horses and smelly cows, she stands up, takes off her apron, and learns to run a ranch. She and Jimmy have lost their way. But through months of hard work, tears, and some hard knocks, they both learn to forgive — themselves and each other. Together, they find their way back, to life, to love, to the Sweet Spot.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Laura Drake] I love ‘fish out of water’ stories. My mother-in-law was actually the kernel of what would become Charla. She’s a ranch wife, who majored in Home Economics in college (yes that was once a major!) Though she came from a long line of farmers/ranchers, she considered everything inside the house her job, and outside, her husband’s.

So I wondered, what would happen if someone like that suddenly had to take over running a ranch?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Charla?

[Laura Drake] Old-fashioned, damaged, plucky!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If JB had a theme song, what would it be?

[Laura Drake] Forever and Ever, Amen

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Charla is never without.

[Laura Drake] Regret.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in JB’s bedroom?

[Laura Drake] A neatly made bed, a senior league championship baseball cap, or pajamas!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is JB’s greatest regret?

[Laura Drake] Not building his son a tree house.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Laura Drake] My husband and his family. I’m a city girl from Detroit, but he’s a farmer/rancher’s son from Texas. I so respect their strength and way of life. We’re moving to Texas next year, and I’m hoping to someday earn the title, “country girl.”

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Laura Drake] Coffee, a computer, and a cat (in that order.)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Laura Drake] All God’s Creatures, by Carolyn McSparren. If you’ve read James Harriott’s novels, you’re going to love this one! A rural vet, but set in the U.S., and the vet is a woman! A wonderfully real, heartwarming book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Laura Drake] Misty of Chincoteague, by Marguerite Henry. Yes, I was horse-mad from an early age.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Laura Drake] Motorcycling, bicycling, fly fishing, reading, camping, knitting.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Laura Drake] My website is best:

But I’m also a Twitterholic: @PBRWriter

For any aspiring writers, I’m a member of the writing craft blog, Writers in the Storm:

Thank you SO much for having me here at Manga Maniac Café!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase The Sweet Spot from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below

About the book:

A Love as Big as Texas . . .

Charla Rae Denny was the perfect wife with a perfect life, content to keep the home fires burning while her husband, JB, competed as a champion bull rider. Then their son died in a tragic accident-and everything fell apart. Divorced and saddled with a hill of bills and a failing ranch, Charla must now cowboy up to put her life back together.

James "JB" Denny doesn’t stay where he isn’t welcome. So when Charla shut him out of her grieving heart-and their home-a year ago, he took comfort where he could find it. Now after seeing beautiful Charla again, he wants it all back. She can’t work the ranch alone, and deep in his heart he knows he can be the man she needs. But after so much history and heartbreak, can JB convince Charla to take a risk and give their love a second chance?

Interview Susan Arden, Author of Tempted by Trouble and Giveaway!


Please give Susan Arden a warm welcome! She is visiting the virtual offices to talk about her recent release, Tempted by Trouble.  After the interview, enter for a chance to win some awesome swag, including an Amazon gift card!

[Susan Arden] Manga Maniac Café, I’m delighted to be here today with you and your readers.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!  Can you please  describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Susan Arden] Type-A personality with a laptop and imagination, ready and willing to share output?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Tempted by Trouble?

[Susan Arden] Mmmm, in short Tempted is a highly sensual (erotic) western romance that comes with a reader-warning.

A rancher with cattle problems seeks out large-animal vet via a college buddy’s recommendation. Matt and Carolina meet, sparks erupt but neither is in the position to act on their feelings. Yet. When avoiding each other doesn’t seem possible, they give into their cravings all over Evermore Cattle Ranch. Suddenly, an unavoidable fling becomes much more than either of them expected. Their love affair of course but have a black moment in the form of a past flame suddenly showing up.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Susan Arden] From NaNoWriMo 2012 the idea germinated about two cousins from Miami who meet unlikely college buddies. The story grew and became two distinct stories. Tempted by Trouble and Picture Perfect.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Carolina?

[Susan Arden] Vulnerable, Modern, Searching

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Matt had a theme song, what would it be?

[Susan Arden] There is a playlist. The song that describes Matt is “Lost” by Coldplay

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Carolina is never without.

[Susan Arden] Sexy lingerie. LOL.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Matt’s bedroom?

[Susan Arden] Another woman besides Carolina. Dirty laundry (Figuratively and Literally). A lack of creativity.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Carolina’s greatest regret?

[Susan Arden] Staying with a man who threatened her self-worth.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Susan Arden] Probably, music in so far as emotional evocative themes. It can both lift and lower.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Susan Arden] No direct questions. Laptop. Temperate environment.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Susan Arden] Beautiful Bastard. I absolutely adored the use of dissonance within the relationship, the humor, the sadness, the erotic imagery, and the raw power of attraction.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Susan Arden] Harry, The Dirty Dog by Gene Zion I was six. A story about a misunderstood creature.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Susan Arden] Outside in the garden. There’s always something coming up, changing, needing help. It’s an easy way to stay connected to the Earth.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Susan Arden] I write under my name Susan D. Taylor and Susan Arden (sensual romances)


I’m not always online but I do read messages and respond via Facebook or twitter.


Twitter: @romancebysusan



Thank you Manga Maniac Café. This was lovely!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!




Susan is offering up a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card and a SWAG Pack (T-Shirt, Notebooks & Pen) to one lucky winner that follows the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Didn’t win? You can order Tempted by Trouble from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the link below:


Author: Susan Arden

Publisher: Crimson Romance

Release Date: April 1, 2013

When a woman is the magnet for the wrong man, it takes a bad boy to break old habits.

Carolina Rodriguez is a large animal veterinarian on a mission to escape South Florida and her overprotective family. Willing to do just about anything, she accepts a job in Annona, Texas over the Internet from a family connection.

At her cousin’s wedding, she runs into Matt, a handsome Texan in the church parking lot. Matthew McLemore is more than gorgeous, he’s Carolina’s new boss, and needs her help to determine why his cattle keep dying. Matt’s instantaneous attraction to Carolina sorely tempts him to push the boundaries of their work contract, but a roll in the hay may prove too volatile to handle. Until she arrives on his ranch and is too hot to resist.

Carolina refuses to admit Matt’s raw sexuality is more than overpowering or that she’s the least bit tempted by this smooth-talking bad boy. But by the time the pathology lab reports comes back, they’ve explored every inch of each other. All of a sudden, this fiery affair is more than just a fling. And when a past flame threatens to overwhelm their new found romance, Matt must find a way to stake his claim to Carolina’s heart before it’s too late.

Warning: Contains a smoking mess of scorching love scenes.

Ice may be needed for blazing imaginations.

Available Now at Amazon



Susan Arden is a third generation Floridian. She left the field of education in 2008 pursing her dream of writing romance fiction. Currently, she writes hot love stories within the romance genres of contemporary erotic, western, and fantasy/paranormal. Susan also writes under the name of Susan D. Taylor.
Susan currently lives in TN along with husband, two cattle dogs, two crazy cats, a gecko and a corn snake. A mother, RYT200 Yoga Alliance (registered yoga teacher), and avid gardener. You can find her on the mat when she’s not writing her next hot romance novel.


Website | Twitter | FB | Playlist | Pinterest |Goodreads


Blog Tour Schedule

4/29 – Reading Between The Wines

5/01 – Riverina Romantics

5/02 – My Reading Obsession

5/04 – Urban Girl Reader

5/05 – The Reading Café

5/06 – Book Monster Reviews

5/07 – Book Lovin’ Mamas

5/09 – Ramblings From This Chick

5/10 – Books-n-Kisses

5/11 – Romance Junkies

5/12 – Manga Maniac Café

5/12 – Romancing The Book

Interview with Julie Benson, Author of The Rancher and the Vet

Please welcome Julie Benson to the virtual offices today!  Julie’s latest, The Rancher and the Vet, was recently released under the Harlequin American Romance line.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Julie Benson] I’m a mom of three boys who started writing when they were little to save my sanity. Not sure it’s done that, but I keep writing anyway.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Rancher and the Vet?

[Julie Benson] When Reed Montgomery’s brother is deployed to Afghanistan, Reed returns to Estes Park, Colorado to stay with his fourteen year old niece. Talk about a confirmed bachelor’s nightmare. When she is sentenced to community service at an animal shelter for spray painting the building, Reed has to face Avery McAlister, the woman he loved and left. But Avery’s got problems of her own trying to keep the shelter she runs open, and the last thing she needs in her life is Reed.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Julie Benson] I thought about how fun it would be to write about a bachelor who was suddenly responsible for a teenage girl. Then one day I was talking to a friend about her son-in-law being in Afghanistan. That led to the idea of Reed coming home to stay with his niece because his brother’s been deployed. As to Avery’s character, when I wrote my first book for Harlequin Big City Cowboy, I knew I wanted to give Avery her own story. The idea for the shelter Avery works for being sold came from my best friend. She’s the Executive Director at the Hinsdale Humane Society. That shelter has a unique situation. They own the building, but the city owns the land. I decided to pair Avery with Reed for a lovers reunited story.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Avery?

[Julie Benson] Loyal, funny, and tender hearted (Technically the last isn’t one word, but they run together like one, and it really describes Avery and what drives her in life, both in terms of her relationships with people and in her career.)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Reed had a theme song, what would it be?

[Julie Benson] Reed’s theme song would be Running on Empty by Jackson Browne. Since he turned 18, Reed’s been running—from his abusive past with his father, from the fear that one day he’ll turn into his old man and from how much he loves Avery. “Honey you really tempt me. You know the way you look so kind. I’d love to stick around but I’m running behind. You know I don’t even know what I’m hoping to find. Running into the sun but I’m running behind.”

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Avery is never without.

[Julie Benson] Her smile. She had a positive attitude and is very much a caretaker in terms of her family, her friends and the animals around her.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Reed’s pockets?

[Julie Benson] (1) a doggie poop bag—Dogs and Reed never got along well. Plus, having a pet is a commitment. It’s an emotional attachment and Reed avoids those any way he can. (2) a picture of his father who abused him (3) a pacifier—Reed, fearing he would repeat the cycle of violence, never wants to have children.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Avery’s greatest regret?

[Julie Benson] Avery’s greatest regret is that she never understood why Reed broke up with her after going to college. He told her he never wanted to come back to Colorado, didn’t want to get married and never wanted children—things he’d never given a hint of during their relationship. Deep inside she had the feeling there was more going on then he was telling her. Not knowing what really happened with Reed made moving on more difficult for her because she never trusted her judgment after that.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Julie Benson] I’d have to say the world around me. Often I hear or read about something that gets my creative juices going. I think what if it didn’t happen like that, or what if this happened. Doing that is how I get a lot of my story ideas.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Julie Benson] (1) The first thing I need is being at my favorite Starbucks at Custer and Renner in Richardson. That’s where I write. People find it odd that I can write there because of all the noise and distractions, but I’m very ADD. If a place is too quiet, my mind wanders. The activity in Starbucks helps me focus. Plus it keeps me connected with people. Writing can be a little isolating some times. (2) The second thing I need is a grande sweetened half green tea, half passion tea or a non fat chai latte if I’m in desperate need of caffeine. (3) The last thing I need is my laptop.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Julie Benson] There have been two books that I’ve read recently that did that. Angel in Chains by Cynthia Eden is a great story about a fallen Angel of Death who’s on Earth in search of redemption. I love a tortured hero story! During Mardi Gras he comes across a woman being attacked by panther shifters. But the woman he saves isn’t a fainting flower. The book had me reading as fast as I could. The other book is The Haunting of Maddy Clare. It’s set in England after World War I. A lonely, broke woman who works for a temp agency is sent to assist a ghost hunter. The story really pulled me. The ghost is real, and out for vengeance. The heroine Sarah gets thrown right in the middle of some dangerous stuff. This story has mystery, suspense and romance and kept me on the edge of my seat.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Julie Benson] When I was in grade school one of my teachers read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett to the class. That story hooked me because it had it all—the suspense, the relationship between Mary and Dickon. Even then I was hooked on romance. The budding childhood romance between Mary and Dickon was my favorite part of the story. After my teacher read the book to us, I read it over and over. From then on I started reading everything I could get my hands on. I would order books through school from Scholastics. If my teachers got free or reduced priced books based on how big their orders were, I single handedly stocked some class libraries.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Julie Benson] I like to make jewelry, and of course I love to read. I’m also a do it yourself remodeling freak. I’ve remodeled two bathrooms and part of my kitchen. I’ve got a wet saw for cutting tile and everything.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Julie Benson] My email is and I love to hear from readers. I’m also on Facebook.

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!

You can purchase The Rancher and the Vet, or any of Julie’s other titles, from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below:

About the book:

Cowboy, Come Home

Leaving his Colorado hometown was the second hardest thing Reed Montgomery ever did—the first was breaking up with Avery McAlister, his high school sweetheart. Now his Western roots are calling the citified CEO back to his family ranch to be surrogate dad to his niece, Jess. Of course, he can’t help being pulled back into Avery’s world.

Keeping her financially strapped animal shelter open is Avery’s first priority—her second turns out to be helping Reed with his parenting skills. They may be bonding, but her former flame still has some serious explaining to do about the secret that drove him away.

The ghosts of the past and a rekindled desire bring Reed and Avery ever closer together. But will Reed embrace his future…as a cowboy, a father and as the man for Avery?

Interview with Dorothy Callahan, Author of Taming the Stallion

Dorothy Callahan is visiting the virtual offices today to chat about her book Taming the Stallion.  Check out what she has to say.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Dorothy Callahan] I’m an avid animal lover who has always dreamed of being a published author. I’m also a chocoholic who refuses any 12 step program.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Taming the Stallion?

[Dorothy Callahan] Raylie really just wants to get a great promotion; she’s done with men and dating. Her baggage is tragic and too hard to deal with, so she represses it, focusing instead on her career. She takes a horse case despite dealing with her past, because she really thinks she can make one more headline arrest.

Ashton is the top horse trainer/breeder around, so the fact this Peace Officer wants to arrest him is ludicrous. He just wants to know who’s poisoning his horses, and the ones he’s losing point to someone being aware of his secretive past.

Neither one really wants anything to do with the other, but they just can’t fight their attraction, despite the risks to their professional careers. Who’s going to solve this case?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Dorothy Callahan] Working in a busy humane society gave me lots of ideas for stories, and, being an animal lover with a defined sense of justice, I knew my heroine would have to embrace those qualities as well. Plus, in all my years working at the humane society, no one ever stumbled on anyone as great a catch as Ashton! All I needed was a situation that put both of them at their personal worst, then stepped back to watch what would happen.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Raylie?

[Dorothy Callahan] Driven, empathic, unwavering. She is definitely NOT a closet romantic. Nope. (Ignore her artwork. She does.)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Ashton had a theme song, what would it be?

[Dorothy Callahan] "Unanswered Prayers" by Garth Brooks.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Raylie is never without.

[Dorothy Callahan] Her sidearm.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Ashton’s bedroom?

[Dorothy Callahan] Neutral colors, art work, potpourri.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Ashton’s greatest regret?

[Dorothy Callahan] Dropping out of college, despite how his life prospered.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Dorothy Callahan] Movies, so I can "veg" and let the juices flow, chocolate, because, well, it’s chocolate, and my husband, who is the best sounding board in the entire world.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Dorothy Callahan] A pen to chew on, a cat on my lap, and silence.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Dorothy Callahan] Ooh, it’s a tie between "Darkfire Kiss," by Deborah Cooke, and "Homer’s Odyssey" by Gwen Cooper.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Dorothy Callahan] A book I read as a child about a young boy whose father (a forest ranger) rescued a mountain lion cub, and as she grew into adulthood, the boy risked his life to return her to the wild. I can’t recall the name of it, but I read it about 8 times in elementary school. (I think the librarian hid it from me after a while….) After that, in middle school, it was Piers Anthony and Robert Asprin.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Dorothy Callahan] What do you mean?  :-)
I love to watch movies, read, renovate our house, and shop for antiques. I’m also a Facebook junkie. I love to repost!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Dorothy Callahan] Online at Dorothy Callahan Author on Facebook, or to visit me.  In person, just talk about movies, your pets, or antiques!

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog! I appreciate the opportunity to be here.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase Taming the Stallion from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the link below. 

About the book:

Peace Officer Raylie McPherson’s mission in life is to protect animals from abuse, and if that means throwing the abusers in jail, so be it. So when the report of two downed horses comes in—from renowned Starstruck Stables, nonetheless—Raylie assumes she can make a quick headline arrest. Despite having to face her horror from the last time she rode, making her relive her fiancé’s death every time she sets foot in a stable, she is determined to do her job. Her coworker swears the owner is innocent, but Raylie’s experience tells her he simply can’t be. But the suspect is anguished, grieving, and too rich to need the insurance money.

Ashton Lyre is devastated over the loss of his two favorite horses—a money maker and a brat. So he’s surprised that the pretty Peace Officer accuses him of the foul deed—for money, no less. She fears his horses, which intrigues him, for she’s obviously ridden before. However, he knows he must be cautious, for he just discovered his very empire was built on shaky ground. Should the pretty cop learn of his fraudulent start, he fears everything he owns could be forfeited, and every case that dips into his past dredges up his fears.

About the Author:

Dorothy Callahan lives in upstate New York with her wonderful husband, a pride of demanding cats, and two loyal dogs, all rescued from shelters (not the husband). When she is not writing, she enjoys shopping for antiques and renovating their pre-Civil War house.